Bon-Ton Stores Likely Headed Toward Liquidation

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Bon-Ton filed for bankruptcy February 4 and had been searching for a buyer that would allow it to stay in business.

Bon-Ton had been working on a deal with asset manager DW Partners and mall owners Namdar Realty and Washington Prime Group that the company said would keep most or all of its stores open.

Bon-Ton Stores, owner of the Younkers department store chain, will likely liquidate and close all of its stores, according to sources familiar with the matter cited by the Reuters news service.

The only two bidders for the company were liquidation firms, according to the report. But last week the judge overseeing the department store retailer's case nixed a proposal to pay the investor group a fee of $500,000 to compensate them for due diligence costs. Bon-Ton operates 13 stores in Wisconsin and employs 2,255 people, including more than 700 at its Milwaukee headquarters. SiouxFalls.Business reports Bon-Ton has not been profitable since 2010.

The bankruptcy auction for Bon-Ton's assets, which is being held at a law office in NY, will resume this morning at 8 a.m., according to the Reorg Research report.

Shoppers make their way past The Bon-Ton at the Wyoming Valley Mall, one of two stores the chain operates in Luzerne County.

Other stores operated by Bon-Ton are under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Carson's, Elder- Beerman and Herberger's names, but most of its stores have histories that predate the parent company.

As the Business Journal pointed out, Reuters has reported that only liquidators have bid and that Bon-Ton will go out of business.

It appears the end might be near for Younkers and other Bon-Ton Stores brands.